Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Fourth Division
JAMES H. MEADORS, Appellant,
STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent.
from the Circuit Court of Jefferson County Honorable Victor
S. ODENWALD, PRESIDING JUDGE.
Meadors ("Meadors") appeals the motion court's
judgment denying his Rule 24.035 motion for post-conviction
relief without an evidentiary hearing. Meadors argues that
the motion court clearly erred in finding that he waived his
right to a speedy trial when he pleaded guilty to forgery. By
pleading guilty, Meadors waived any claim that plea counsel
was ineffective for failing to move to dismiss for lack of a
speedy trial. Accordingly, our review is limited to the
voluntariness of Meadors's plea. Because the record
plainly refutes that Meadors's plea was either
involuntary or unknowing, or that Meadors's motion
contained the required averment of prejudice, the motion
court did not clearly err in denying Meadors's motion for
post-conviction relief without an evidentiary hearing.
Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the motion court.
and Procedural History
State arrested Meadors in August 2011, following a string of
forgeries and stealing offenses committed in the City of St.
Louis, St. Charles County, and Jefferson County. Although the
subject of this appeal addresses only Meadors's sentence
on his Jefferson County forgery offense, to fully address
Meadors's post-conviction motion, we review his
post-arrest timeline with respect to all three jurisdictions.
On charges of forgery and stealing filed in the City of St.
Louis, Meadors was convicted following trial in February 2013
and sentenced to a term of incarceration with the Missouri
Department of Corrections ("DOC"). On the charges
of passing bad checks and stealing filed in St. Charles
County, Meadors pleaded guilty in June 2014 and also was
sentenced to a term of incarceration with the DOC. During the
pendency of his criminal proceedings in the City of St. Louis
and St. Charles County, Meadors was never in the custody of
Jefferson County, nor did Jefferson County issue any writ of
detainer to obtain custody of him.
State filed its complaint alleging a forgery charge against
Meadors in Jefferson County on November 11, 2012, and issued
an arrest warrant on December 5, 2012.
2013, while in the custody of the DOC on the City of St.
Louis and St. Charles offenses, Meadors wrote a letter to the
Jefferson County circuit court asking for information about
the pending forgery charge in that court. In his letter to
the court, Meadors wrote that he "would like to dispose
of the charges against him if possible." At this time,
no information or indictment had been returned formally
charging Meadors with any crime in Jefferson County.
State executed the warrant on the Jefferson County forgery
charge in March 2015. Meadors then was brought from the DOC
to Jefferson County by writ, and was appointed a public
defender. The State filed the information on the forgery
charge on January 25, 2016, and amended the information on
January 27, 2016. Eighty-four days later, on April 20, 2016,
Meadors pleaded guilty to forgery.
plea hearing, the State outlined its evidence against
Meadors: on June 25, 2011, Meadors had used a forged
check in the amount of $20, 697 to defraud Taylor's
Boutique Limited in order to buy a vehicle. Meadors
registered the vehicle and obtained a title loan to acquire
cash, using the vehicle as collateral. At the hearing,
Meadors admitted to having forged the check. The State then
presented Meadors with a list of his prior
convictions-including the City of St. Louis and St. Charles
County offenses of forgery, passing bad checks, and stealing-
and Meadors attested to its accuracy. Meadors acknowledged
that he understood that the range of punishment for the
Jefferson County forgery charge was seven to fifteen years
with the DOC.
plea court asked Meadors a series of questions ensuring that
Meadors understood the consequences of his guilty plea.
Meadors stated that he fully understood the nature of his
guilty plea. Meadors acknowledged that by pleading guilty he
was giving up his right to a speedy trial. Meadors confirmed
that he had the opportunity to speak to plea counsel, and
that plea counsel answered all of his questions about the
guilty plea. The plea court accepted Meadors's guilty
plea, finding that Meadors made the guilty plea voluntarily,
intelligently, knowingly, and with a full understanding of
the nature and consequences of pleading guilty.
plea court subsequently conducted a sentencing hearing. The
sentencing court inquired into whether Meadors was content
with his plea counsel. Meadors indicated that he was
satisfied with plea counsel and plea counsel's
effectiveness. The sentencing court sentenced Meadors as a
prior and persistent offender to eight years in prison
pursuant to the State's recommendation.
later filed for post-conviction relief under Rule 24.035,
claiming that plea counsel was ineffective for failing to
file a motion to dismiss his forgery charge for lack of a
speedy trial prior to his decision to plead guilty, and he
was thereby prejudiced. The motion court denied Meadors's
Rule 24.035 motion without an evidentiary hearing, finding
that Meadors's plea was voluntary and that Meadors
understood both what he was doing and the consequences of his
plea. The motion court further found that Meadors waived any
claim regarding his right to a speedy trial when he pleaded
guilty. The motion court additionally found that Meadors
failed to show prejudice. Meadors now appeals.
sole point on appeal, Meadors maintains that the motion court
clearly erred in denying his Rule 24.035 motion without an
evidentiary hearing because his plea counsel was ineffective
for failing to move to dismiss the Jefferson County forgery
charge based on Meadors's right to a speedy trial.
Meadors contends he was prejudiced because had plea counsel